Will voters support another bond issue for Wake Schools?

September 22, 2010 4:39:38 PM PDT
Wake County voters could be asked to support another billion dollar bond referendum to build new schools.

That's because the county is expected to grow by another 60,000 students over the next 10 years.

So, ABC11 hit the streets to find out if taxpayers are willing to support it.

Some, like Wake County ice cream vendor Buck Buchanan say he's had a rocky financial road lately.

"It is a recession. I'm down by 50 percent in sales. It's tough to make it already with the taxes that we have," he offered.

That's one of the reasons why the father of two students says he's not willing to scoop out more money for new schools.

"There's tons of buildings around the county that are just sitting there doing nothing. If they could refurbish those buildings instead of building new ones that's a whole lot better off," he said.

Wake County would need to build 30 new schools to accommodate the expected 60,000 new students. School officials say a billion dollar bond would be needed.

Some taxpayers say it's a good investment.

"It's often hard to say yes to spending more, but it's something we have to look kind of long term if we want to get ourselves out of the recession. We have to make sure we're building the kind of infrastructure, including education that we're going to need," said Wake taxpayer and parent Steve Martin.

Wake County commissioners serve as a bank to the school system. Republican chairman Tony Gurley - who's up for re-election - told ABC11 Wednesday that he wants to make sure the county is growing as quickly as school staff says.

Democrat Jack Nichols - who's running for a different county commission seat - said he has some big concerns.

"I just think because we're in a recession, because of the uncertainty of Wake County Schools, I think it'll be tough to get a bond passed right now, I really do," he offered.

Instead of putting a billion dollar bond in front of voters, Wake County leaders could decide to break it up and ask voters to approve smaller bonds over the course of a decade.

There will be several public meetings before any decision is final.

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